Friday, January 30, 2009

Walnut-Crusted Tilapia & Barley Pilaf

Walnut-Crusted Tilapia
adapted from Family Circle Magazine & Mare
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon fat-free mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 tilapia filets (about 6 ounces each)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Heat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Stir together mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of the mustard. Finely chop walnuts. Brush tilapia with mustard mixture, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon basil and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Press 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts onto one side of each fillet.
3. Place tilapia, walnut-side up, on baking sheet; bake at 425°F for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

*I doubled the mayo/mustard mixture

Barley Pilaf
1 1/3 cup regular barley
1 cup shredded carrot
4 oz. sliced mushroom
1 onion, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
2 Tbls unsalted butter
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add barley, mushrooms, and shredded carrots, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and Cover. Cook for 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
*I didn't have mushrooms & this was still good. I'm sure it would be even better with them!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jan. Gourmet Night

The Barefoot Contessa

4 garlic cloves
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste. You'll find it next to the peanut butter.)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
8 dashes hot sauce (I did not use hot sauce)

Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it's minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Barefoot Contessa

1 pound (1 pint) plain yogurt (whole milk or low fat)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth or paper towel-lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Grate the cucumber and toss it with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt; place it in another sieve, and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours so the yogurt and cucumber can drain.
Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumber as you can and add the cucumber to the yogurt. Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. You can serve it immediately, but I prefer to allow the tzatziki to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Naan (flatbread)

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared. It was freezing outside, so I cooked my as follows: heat oven to 500 with baking stone inside. Put flatbread on stone and bake for 2 minutes. It cooks fast! I added a little garlic powder to my melted butter before brushing on.

Blueberry Spinach Salad

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach, torn
1 (4 ounce) package blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a jar with tight-fitting lid, combine the first five ingredients and shake well. In a large salad bowl, toss the spinach, blue cheese, blueberries and pecans. Add dressing and toss gently; serve immediately.

Apricot Glazed Carrots
4 c. carrots, sliced
3 Tbl. butter
1/3 c. apricot preserves
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. fresh grated lemon peel
2 tsp. lemon juice
Cook carrots in saucepan until crisp-tender (about 8 min). Drain and set aside. Melt butter in a skillet. Stir in preserves. Add all other ingredients, except carrots, and cook briefly. Toss in carrots and cook long enough to heat thoroughly.
Chicken Tikka Masala

1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

4 long skewers
1 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 tsp cumin, cinnamon,
cayenne, pepper, ginger, and 1 tsp salt. Stir in chicken, cover,
refrigerate 1 hour.
2. Preheat a grill for high heat.
3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard
marinade. Grill 5 min. on each side.
4. Melt butter in a large skillet. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1
Season with 2 tsp cumin, paprika and 1 tsp salt. Stir in tomato sauce and
cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add
grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter
and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Notes: When I do it for my family, I do it a faster way: no skewers, and I just broil the chicken if it's cold outside. The sauce is usually thicker than it was at our gourmet night and I just realized I left the cilantro in the fridge! If you'd rather use half and half instead of cream, it's almost as good.

Chocolate Bavarian Torte
1 pkg. devil's food cake mix
4 eggs
1/3 c. olive oil
1 c. sour cream

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups whipping cream - whipped
2 Tb grated semi sweet chocolate

Make cake with the amount of water called for, 4 eggs, 1/3 c. olive oil and 1 c. sour cream (if you use canola oil, use 1/2 c.)

Pour into two 9 inch cake pans and bake according to recommended time. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Mix/beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy. Fold in the whipped cream. Split each cake in two layers. Place on serving plate. Spread with 1/4 of cream mixture and sprinkle with grated chocolate. Repeat on all layers. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or over night.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Comfort Food- Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Yesterday was a grilled cheese & tomato soup kind of day. I decided to forgo the usual Campbell's tomato & make my own this time {which tasted much better, though the kids' said they still prefer the can!}. I used the canned tomatoes and substituted 1 TB. olive oil for the butter. I also used milk instead of cream. I jazzed up the grilled cheese by adding thyme to the softened butter {parsley, garlic salt, or italian seasoning might also be good}. I cut the sandwiches into cubes for yummy "croutons".

Cream of Tomato Soup
Food Network

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 tablespoons flour
2 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, juices reserved
2 cups reduced-sodium canned chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 cup light cream or milk
Salt and pepper

In a large nonreactive saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes without allowing to color. Add tomatoes with their juices, broth, tomato paste, basil, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer stirring frequently, 15 minutes.
Remove and discard bay leaf. In a food processor or blender, puree soup in batches until smooth. Return to pan and stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes, and serve.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Nam Tok {Waterfall}

This is my kids' favorite Thai meal. They beg for it. It's the only way I will eat steak :) I so wish I had a picture....we ate this last night, but my camera is being faulty. I tried to find a pic on the web, but none of them did justice to the dish! So, use your imagination & I'll post a pic next time we make it!

Nam Tok
we double this recipe for our family of 5

1 10 oz. NY strip steak
2 TB. Ground roasted rice*
3 TB. Lemon juice
3 TB. Fish sauce
1 tsp. Nam Prik Poaw (red chili paste)
1-2 Thai chili peppers, minced
1/4cup Red onion, finely chopped
1/8 cup Green onion, finely chopped
Napa cabbage
Thai sticky rice**

1. Grill steak to your liking; do not overcook!
2. Slice steak into thin (1/8”) pieces.
3. Place all ingredients except cabbage and sticky rice in large mixing bowl; toss well.
4. Serve with sticky rice and cabbage leaves.

* Place uncooked sticky rice in a dry wok or skillet and heat over moderate heat until deep golden brown, stirring frequently to keep from burning and to allow it to develop a uniform color. Watch the rice carefully after it begins to change color and stir constantly because it can burn easily at this stage. When it is a uniform deep golden color, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Grind it to a fine powder in a blender or a spice grinder. This can be made in advance and kept in quantity so that there is always a supply on hand, but it is also easy to make up while preparing the dish.

**You can find Thai sticky rice at Asian markets. Cook rice that has soaked in water overnight in a steamer for 20-25 minutes. We usually do 3 cups.

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